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Paul George Tells Pacers He’s Leaving In Free Agency; Prefers To Sign With Lakers

Slam Dunk contest competitor and All-Star Paul George leads the Pacers into action Friday.

The Indiana Pacers were given a rude awakening this weekend with superstar Paul George informing the team of his intentions to opt out of his contract and potentially join the Los Angeles Lakers in July of 2018.

Although there were plenty of rumors floating around about George’s desire to join his hometown team, now it appears to be official, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

All-Star forward Paul George has informed the Indiana Pacers that he plans to become a free agent in the summer of 2018 and will leave the franchise – preferably for the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told The Vertical.

This puts the Pacers brass in an awkward position as it hurts George’s trade value and forces them to make a move at some point between now and the NBA trade deadline in February of next year.

With all the teams in the league now officially knowing that George plans to sign with the Lakers, it will make it difficult for the Pacers to find a squad willing to give up assets for a one-year rental. George is no doubt one of the best two-way players in the game and instantly makes any team in the league better, but if he intends to bolt to Los Angeles, there’s little motivation for teams to try to acquire him.

One potential scenario is the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers going after George this summer. The Cavaliers were beaten in the NBA Finals in five games to a superior Golden State Warriors squad led by Kevin Durant and will need to retool in order to compete with the best team in the league.

Adding George, even if it is for only one year, might give them a better chance to overcome Golden State. George is a perennial All-Star and one of the best players in the league at his position. Only time will tell if Cleveland or Los Angeles make a play for him this summer or before the trade deadline.

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